Popular French restaurant proves there is such a thing as a frite lunch

SOUTHPORT already has one famous pier, but the town’s Grade II-listed landmark will soon be joined by a well-known Pierre as a key Lord Street location is sprinkled with a little je ne sais quoi.

The independently-owned French restaurant group Bistrot Pierre is about to start renovation work on the former Russell & Bromley store in the town centre. They say the £1 million project will create a French-styled venue catering for up to 140 diners, and around 50 jobs will be created “for local people”.

There are currently 17 Bistrot Pierre branches throughout the UK, serving “French bistrot classics with regional favourites”. The restaurants are open seven days a week and according to the group, the “freshly prepared dishes use authentic ingredients sourced from France by talented chefs who visit France to develop the unique flavours".

The Russell & Bromley store closed in September 2014, and as a significant corner location on Southport’s grand central street – which is sometimes claimed to have influenced the boulevards of Paris – residents have been looking forward to work beginning on the building.

Inside Bistrot Pierre Mere Green 2
This sort of thing: Bistrot Pierre will spend £1m opening in Lord Street's former Russell and Bromley store

Hugh Evans, CEO of Southport Business Improvement District, says: "This is exciting news for Southport. The new restaurant has been eagerly awaited in the town and we are pleased that Bistrot Pierre has realised the potential that Southport has to offer.”

Sue Potter from GY Architects, who is designing the layout of the new restaurant, adds: “It is wonderful to be involved with this project that will see a much-loved historic shop transformed. We can’t wait to unveil the new interior that will create a typically Parisian bistrot experience in the town.”

The first Bistrot Pierre opened in Nottingham in 1994, and the independent chain (not to be confused with Liverpool’s unrelated Bistro Pierre on Button Street) is still owned by its founders Rob Beacham and John Whitehead.

According to Beacham: “Southport is a historic and vibrant town that attracts many visitors to enjoy its culture, scenery, shops and restaurants, and we’re proud to be involved in the growth of its food and drink scene.”

Bistrot Pierre is due to open in August – the month in which France customarily shuts down as its citizens head for the coast.

So should any of them have Southport in their sights, they will now be able to enjoy the traditional English seaside meal of frites with everything before heading out for a day at the beach.